David Rees: Editor's comment

All posts from: July 2012

In the running

Posted by: David Rees Mon, 30 Jul 2012

The big symbol switch

Posted by: David Rees Wed, 18 Jul 2012

It’s a very interesting time for the symbol group market right now. It’s a growing market, and has been for many years as independent retailers realise that they need increasing levels of professionalism and support in order to compete, but it’s also in high flux.

For one thing, the recession is causing many retailers to re-evaluate their costs, prices and marketing, and rethinking their wholesale relationships is all part of that. Second, structural issues such as the unresolved Costcutter/Nisa deal is creating uncertainty and, finally, there are an increasing number of different fascia options and packages available, including the formation of sub-brands and groups within groups.

At C-Store we always support trends that give retailers the greatest number of options to grow their businesses, so we regard it as great news that there are so many good symbol options to choose from.

If you want some help making up your mind, look out for our What Fascia supplement with this issue. We’ve worked with the symbol group providers to give them a platform to tell you the information you need to know about each group, and the benefits you’ll get from joining. I hope it helps make the decision easier.

Plain speaking

Posted by: David Rees Fri, 13 Jul 2012

Convenience Store is one of the many organisations to have submitted a response to the government’s consultation on the plain packaging of tobacco products. We have done it on your behalf, because it is the retail industry that has the most to lose from this latest state-sponsored assault on the tobacco sector.

It is tempting to call it mad legislation, but sadly, it’s deadly serious. There are even some rational and cynical reasons for the government to introduce it. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is under pressure from the medical profession - first for the NHS reforms and more recently for proposed changes to doctors’ pensions - so pushing some tough anti-tobacco legislation through could be seen as a good way to curry some favour.

I prefer not to take the cynical view, so have submitted a view to the government in the hope that they might listen about the damage this idea would cause, not just to retailing but to the country as a whole. You can read our full submission on our website later this week, and it’s not too late to put your own version in as well (the consultation is open until July 10, so you’ll have to be quick).

But, put simply, plain packaging is not a good way to change young people’s attitude towards tobacco, and it’s not a good way to protect the already stretched public purse. And, above all, it’s not good for business.


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